📚📚 Read every day challenge - Spring 2022 🌸 🌱

So I don’t know if my understanding matches what’s generally understood by “classic”, but in my mind there are two “levels” to this: The first level would be texts written in kobun, i.e. classical literary Japanese that’s pretty different from modern Japanese so I wouldn’t stand the slightest chance in understanding it. The second level would be texts written before the major script reform in 1945/46.

For your list of authors:

太宰 and 芥川 are of course super-well known authors.

小泉 八雲 (whose name at the time of birth was Lafcadio Hearn) lived in Japan for 15 years (until he died) and allowed the West go gain a deep glance into the old Japan.

Also, look what I have on my shelf!

My neighbor gave this to me because “you do Japanese, right?” :joy_cat:

(the subtitle says “Life and experiences/adventures in old Japan”)

伊藤 左千夫 is unknown to me. But he seems to be a poet rather than a writer, so there’s that. (Not going to touch poets any time soon, if ever :sweat_smile:)

森鴎外 is also a very well-known author, although he was a medical doctor by profession. He spent some time in Germany and was a bit of the inverse of Hearn in that he opened the Western world to his Japanese readership. I just listened to a talk about him where it was mentioned that he wrote like crazy, and until today not all of his writings have been covered academically yet :sweat_smile:
I know him because I read 高瀬舟 with a reading circle at some point (and liked it a lot; I found it to be quite thought-provoking). That one was not too difficult actually.

Regarding whether a certain text is a classic or not: I think many of these authors produced many many texts (short stories are still popular in Japan nowadays, but I feel like back in the day there were hardly any authors who would write really long books - Soseki might be an exception there). So I wouldn’t worry too much whether a given text is actually a classic or not. The authors definitely are.

Bookwalker features some editions and they are around 250 pages, so… it was probably shortened slightly :laughing:


I also read a simplified version of this at some point before getting into books. I don’t remember being that into it, which is interesting as I love reading 太宰 now. I suppose it’s a classic in the sense you’re forced to read it in school :joy:

I’m not familiar with this story, but I personally don’t like 芥川’s writing style that much :sweat_smile:

I and @Daisoujou have both read the original of this. It’s a classic folktale!

Hahahaha I think there is some other criteria but I’ve been reading through public domain works based on a popularity list so I may be biased to thinking all that’s been saved is good. I definitely know 漱石、太宰、and 芥川 are classic authors because I’ve seen/heard them referenced in Japanese in other contexts. Not sure about the others you listed - neither the titles nor the author names rang bells for me. @NicoleIsEnough 's answer here (which I read after typing this up :sweat_smile: ) is much better.

Honestly it doesn’t matter to me if someone is reading the graded reader versions or the originals, an accomplishment is an accomplishment and a big part of reading these classics is having a window into the culture. I’m glad you enjoyed 坊っちゃん so much and you have me wanting to read it sometime!


So, it’s kinda weird to me, but why is he usually mentioned by his first name when other authors are mentioned by their family name? (I did it myself as well, since people usually seem to do it)

Even wikipedia calls him 漱石 (and 金之助 for the part about his childhood) but they keep talking about 夏目家 otherwise and 太宰治 is called 太宰 for instance :thinking:

Edit: Google told me that other people are wondering the same thing :joy: So far, it seems that the answer is “that’s how it is”


Correct, a book club discussion all in Japanese!


My vision is of a low-pressure environment, like a bookclub that meets up at a bar or something. A place where people can feel comfortable just saying whatever they’re thinking, even if their command of the language is less than perfect.

Towards that goal, I was thinking it might work to choose a book that either was previously discussed in a book club, or one that’s currently being read in a book club. That way hardcore grammar questions can be answered in English in another thread, and we can focus on chatting about the story and whatever else comes up in Japanese.

To keep the atmosphere more like a social club that happens to be in Japanese, rather than a language help club, the other thing I was thinking (which people might feel is a bit more radical) is that we don’t do any grammar correction in-thread. I know almost everyone here is very interested in intensive study, but in-thread corrections could derail the focus of the group on just having a fun conversation in Japanese, and might also make folks more self-conscious and embarrassed of their own mistakes.

More on that: We all have plenty of opportunities to study intensively; this club would be focusing on the skill of actually getting the words out there in the first place, making it clear what you’re trying to say even if you don’t have the right words, getting into the flow of a conversation. (But all that in the low-pressure environment of a forum, where you have plenty of time to compose yourself and look up words if you straight up can’t remember them …) Speaking from personal experience, you’ll likely be surprised how much you’re able to communicate, even if you’ve literally never tried to communicate in Japanese before!

Of course, if we don’t understand what someone’s trying to say it would be fine to ask them for clarification, or if they make a really embarrassing mistake just warning them about it as an aside, or if they make a really funny mistake sharing the joke in a gentle way. That all seems like good bar banter. :joy:

And I’m totally open to feedback! This all depends on having a group of people who have more or less the same goal in mind, so if you’re interested, please share any suggestions, preferences, ideas, etc! :slight_smile:

Edit to add: if there’s interest, I can make a new thread for discussing it, so we don’t derail this one too too much. :sweat_smile:


Kind of like … Beyonce? Or … Hmmm… :thinking:


Main Post

I finished reading shiba inu vol 1 yesterday, so good time for a new update. It’s a pretty strange read, probably because it likes asking philosphical questions and references a lot of stuff. Not difficult to read, but a bit confusing to understand. The art is pretty good and all in color, plus shiba faces. Sharing some of the funny moments with you.

volume 1

Might as well continue with vol 2 and 3 while I’m there. On the other hand, I have decided to (re)play Persona 4 Golden as my next game in Japanese. I made a little start with that this weekend. So far it’s good, yeah it’s slow going of course but what else is new. The animation sequences are dubbed in english, which was so unexpected it just passed me by. And with JP subs as well, very hilarious. Anyway I have played this game before till completion (platinum trophy on vita) and watched both animes as well, so it’s not like I’ll miss anything that important. I’m mostly here for the dialogue. It’s definitely good practice for both reading and listening, which is something I’m not used to together like that. Game is basically half a rpg and half a visual novel, the audio logs have proved helpful already as it’s easy to misread or mishear stuff. I’ll keep posting updates on this as well as I figure things out along the way.


can I ask what platform you are playing this on? I was playing Persona 4 Golden quite recently (I got the game on steam, set to japanese as the game language for text and voice) and I don’t remember the animation scenes being dubbed into English at all, pretty sure it was japanese voice & text for those too :thinking: I need to get back to playing it so I’ll maybe check when I have time this week just in case my memory is being really bad (always possible)

NicoleRauch replies

Thanks for trying to answer the question. Honestly, if someone asked me this question about English or Swedish literature, I’d be like… Hmmm… well, maybe it is all classics, but also probably not. Seems to be scholars like to decide that kinda thing, but also historically there might be a lot of elitism and the author being the right kinda person, so… Hard to answer?

Or my answer would be: whatever I was forced to read in school. :joy:

Haha, made me remember when my dad bought me Silmarillion in Swedish translation (when I was a teen) because I’m into those fantasy books. And I’m like… Translation… Also, Silmarillion… :face_palm:


If I’m generous, the booklets cover about 70 pages, so yeah… I wonder if that means I’d like the longer original work, or if I liked the shorted to the point simplified tale. Maybe one day I will learn. :3

pocketcat replies

It’s very fairytale-y and I had to skim through a lot of it to remember the story. So wasn’t very memorable, maybe?

Funny, this was another one I had to flip through almost every page to even vaguely remember the story. :joy:

:smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I hope you do. And I hope the original is as entertaining.


:tiger2: :books: Tanuki Den (aka Homepost): Date 20220510 :cherry_blossom: :raccoon:

Tanuki Scroll XL(a): カッパのトゲ抜き薬 :cucumber:

Read today’s folktale from Ibaraki Prefecture! About a kappa who accidentally scares some people because he likes looking at the clean water in the well at the back of their house. To apologise the kappa tells the house master how to make the secret kappa elixir.

Tanuki Scroll XL(b): うどん :ramen:

And listened to today’s Edo tale. About udon noodles, and how people didn’t really know how to eat them properly. So they watch master-udon-muncher to see how it’s done, only problem is he sneezes halfway through the demonstration and the noodles pop out his nose. Everyone thinks this is proper udon-eatin-etiquette and attempt to copy him but can’t get the noodles to pop out their nose… so they jam them up their nostrils instead. :laughing:

Because my listening comprehension is pretty bad I thought I’d try listening without reading. Even though it’s a short, simple story I could only pick out a few words and then by the time I’ve made a rough idea of what a sentence means it’s already on the next.
I listened again while reading along and suddenly everything makes so much sense, probably should focus a lot more on listening.

:seedling: Japanese found in the tall grass :seedling:

New Things

おかっぱ「お河童」ー Bobbed hair; bob cut. Kappa hair!
真弓「まゆみ」ー Japanese spindle tree
無理矢理「むりやり」ー Forcibly

ペタン ー The sound of something being lightly pressed


Summary post :bookmark:

May 10th :seedling:

・薬屋のひとりごと (94% → 100%)

Finished the last two chapters and thus have reached the end of the book. I like :eyes: :sparkles: Good book!

Yes! :grin: Already have it downloaded on the bookwalker app :wink:


Just read another ten pages of 夜カフェ2 and man, this story is really starting to hit home.

vague spoilers

Hanabi’s currently having trouble with her friend acting really inconsiderately, and for a while now she’s been having a worse and worse time and knowing she should just talk to her friend about it, but every time she can’t quite bring herself to do it. And I just know that feeling too well to hold it against her. Especially when you have to put on a brave face / shut up and take it at home (maybe I’m reading to much into it, but I have a feeling Hanabi’s dad didn’t just suddenly become a dick after her mom went back to work). So you have no concept that there are people you should be able to trust enough that you can stand up for yourself to them.

So I guess that means I can read well enough now for stories to have real emotional effects on me! :woman_shrugging: I’ll be happy to get to the part where everything is better. :sweat_smile:


That’s all really interesting, thank you! Love to have some vindication for dictionary use :stuck_out_tongue: . I’m sure extensive reading has its benefits, but I just don’t like to read without understanding, so I’m pretty much permanently in the look up every word camp for now, heh. I’ve always gotten the impression part of the reason to encourage extensive is simply that a lot of people find intensive reading a drag, but it’s basically all I want to do. That might change, but probably not until I’m a lot better at reading. One of those personal tendencies I suppose.

I’ve been working on that a lot recently too! I’ve at least felt like I’ve had noticeable gains from making efforts to listen to something, read it, then listen again (as @pocketcat suggested before). If more of these have audio, that might be worth a shot?


According to my Japanese lit professor it’s basically that he’s so well-known/highly-regarded/canonized that people will know who you’re talking about if you use his given name, so people tend to. It’s the same with Mori Ogai I believe? It’s basically a marker for just how well-known they are as far as I can tell :man_shrugging:


Today I finished reading this week’s section for かがみの孤城 🪞 Week 24. It was a pretty moving backstory for one of the kids and I thought it was well-written.


Day 40 :heavy_check_mark: :milk_glass: :japanese_goblin:

告白 ~ 46-50%
ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 58 pages

Today I read two stories from ゲゲゲの鬼太郎, both from start to finish! I know, not that impressive, but I tended to always stop halfway for the day for one reason or another, so that’s a welcome change. I don’t know if it’s because it’s been a few days since I last read 鬼太郎, but I really liked both of them, and didn’t feel they were childish at all.

The plot of the two stories, in case you're interested (spoilers of course)

In the first story, a huge monster (looking like something between a crab and a tick, with a demon head) emerges from the sea and terrorizes a quiet fishing village. The firemen try to capture it and the local policeman tries to shoot it to no avail. Kitaro, who happens to be there, strangles it with his magic hair. The monster transforms to a local fisherman who had disappeared and dies. Just then, Kotaro himself starts transforming into the monster. The villagers flee to the local 神社 and pray for days on end, until a foreign Hindu god appears. He has dealt with the monster before. He instructs it to crawl to the local volcano, and it tumbles into the crater. A mysterious gas rises, and the God captures it in a bag, while a disheveled Kitaro climbs out of the volcano. The monster was actually a parasitic gas that would enter a host’s body and transform it into the monster form. When the body died, the gas would enter the body of whoever was closest. The God instructed the villagers to dig a whole, buried the bag with the gas, and built a mound on top, as a signal for people to never tamper with it.

In the second story, an island’s inhabitants are preparing a girl for the annual sacrifice to the 髪様 (yes, that’s the kanji for hair, not god). The girl confides to her crow friend, who flies to Kotaro to seek help. He gets Nezumi Otoko instead, and he frees the girl hoping for a monetary reward. The 髪様 is not pleased however, nor his hairy eyeball servant. Trapping Nezumi Otoko into a magic mirror, he then asks the villagers for either the girl who escaped or a hundred people. The girl is nowhere to be found, and the villagers don’t know what to do. When the 髪様’s request isn’t fulfilled by the deadline he had set, everyone in the village gets a severe headache, then their hair spontaneously leaves their heads, and they’re suddenly all bald. Two of them try to leave the island to ask for help, but the (live) hair balls capsize their boat. They are captive to the hair monsters. The one who -ironically- manages to ask for help is the girl who was about to be sacrificed - she was carried to Kitaro’s by her friend crow and his pals. She also calls the Defense forces and they go together with Kitaro by helicopter. There is an epic fight between the (now bald) soldiers and the hair monster (all the hairs combined into one huge aggressive tangle of hair), and of course the soldiers are losing. Meanwhile, Kitaro’s hair leaves his head too, but then returns, and now Kitaro knows what to do. He finds the magic mirror and breaks it, freeing Nezumi Otoko. Then he goes to the village where the soldiers are celebrating their victory, and brings them the now powerless 髪様. He took his powers from the magic mirror, and is now just a harmless, live bundle of hair (that had been hiding, appropriately, under floorboards). With everything resolved, the crows bring the girl back to the now peaceful island.

Beautiful panels


Monsters, gods and fights


Cool words

無神論者 - atheist (not a word I expected to learn from a yokai manga for kids!)
噴火口 - volcanic crater
寄生 - parasitism
生贄 - sacrifice (to the gods), scapegoat
山分け - equal division of profits
禿げ頭 - bald head
半鐘 - fire alarm (“half bell”?)

This kanji image was used throughout the story instead of 船. Here the furigana make it obvious what it is, but elsewhere it was せん and it was driving me crazy, I couldn’t find it in the dictionary.

I also reached the halfway mark in 告白! I really wanted to keep reading, but had to stop myself - there are other things to do too, even though they’re not as fun.


Steam as well. I have the game set in Japanese.

1 Like

Looks like you found one of the characters where the standardized version is different across languages.

船 ← this one will display differently depending on your browser language settings

(I noticed because your post didn’t make sense on a computer where I hadn’t set Japanese as one of the default browser languages, so it displayed the same as your screenshot)


So that’s why you had trouble finding it - per wiktionary:

The top-right part can be either 八 or 几, depending on the script


Ah, so it’s the Chinese equivalent!
It can’t have been an encoding problem on my end though, as I saw it in a manga (so it was a pic) and I looked for it by radicals and handwriting. Who knows why the Chinese character was used in the manga. They’re very similar in any case.


Day 36 / Calendar

I’ve finished reading this weeks BBC book club. I’m getting through most sentences with ease, maybe because I’m coasting heavily on the context, maybe I actually got better, doesn’t really matter, both should work out in the end.


May 10 (Day 39)

I haven’t made a post for a while! I’ve just been checking my days off here and there.

I’m keeping up with the 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん book club, which makes me happy.

I read one very challenging page in 透明カメレオン since the last written update. It was talking about a really specific hobby around building transistor radios. I’m hoping if I can squeeze past this part it’ll get easier again :sob:

Also, I’ve been reading Japanese for work! Headquarters hasn’t translated the latest internal magazine into English yet, and I want to highlight some of the material for our team in the UK. It’s pretty cool that Japanese is becoming practical!

Even if I’m not posting everyday, I’m scrolling through to see how you are all doing. You guys are the best.

:cherry_blossom::house_with_garden: My Home Post :house_with_garden::cherry_blossom: